46. Hunting Party VII

The party regains their wrestling friend and delivers the Liar’s Mouthpiece back to Franny. What is she going to do with it? And what does she know that no one else knows? Inara, Tracey and Kohl listen.


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- website: jointhepartypod.com

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- music: brandongrugle.bandcamp.com

- modules: jointhepartypod.com/modules

Cast & Crew

- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver

- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle

- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin

- Kohl: Julia Schifini

- Editing assistance by Jeff Brice

- Creative Contributors: Connor McLoughlin, Heddy Hunt, Julia Schifini, Mischa Stanton

- Multitude: multitude.productions

About Us

Join the Party is a collaborative storytelling and roleplaying podcast. That means a group of friends create a story together, chapter by chapter, that everyone from seasoned players to true beginners can enjoy. Where else can you get adventure, intrigue, magic, drama, and lots of high fives all in one place? Right here.

After each episode we sit down for the Afterparty, where we break down our game and answer your questions about how to play Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games at home. We also have the Punchbowl, an interview series with people pushing D&D forward creatively, communally and socially. It’s a party, and you’re invited! Find out more at jointhepartypod.com.


Amanda: Last time, on Join the Party…

Eric: The party departs from Finale’s apartment and follows Oatcake’s nose towards the tailgaters outside of Jersey Mike’s Arena. They find themselves at the grill of Eugene, a follower of Adamah and a plumber who knows the inside the arena. The party sneaks in to the main wrestling area, as Eugene distracts the guard by shooting the shit.

Mike: [yelling] OH, I GOT A NAT 20, BABY!! 

[garbled yells of excitement] 

Mike: On the first roll! I’m super stoked to become this dude’s best man at his wedding.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Inara and Tracey walk confidently towards Kohl’s dressing room, but they’re stopped by a massive wrestler who forces Inara to practice. Inara complies, and everyone makes a break for it. Eugene figures out which one is Kohl’s room because it’s the one with the security robot.

Brandon: Tracey takes out his help horn and sort of slides it in the crack of the door and through it yells,

Brandon (as Tracey): Galaxatron!!!

Eric: Once past the trap, Tracey and Inara find what they’re looking for -- the megaphone with the Liar’s Mouthpiece.

It seems like there was already a rager in Kohl’s dressing room. Can we keep this going? Oh yeah, let’s get the party started.

[theme music]

Eric: Tracey and Inara, you are stacked on top of each other Scooby Doo style in the doorway. Peering out as The Oak is walking away from Lighthammer’s door and knocking on each successive door down to yours and is slowly making her way towards Kohl's dressing room. What do you do?

Brandon (as Tracey): [nervously] Ahhh, Inara, I think it’s time to panic.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, yeah, let's close the door and then figure it out from there.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): What if we just act really cool. No one will ask questions.

Amanda (as Inara): What if we’re like, “Oh, didn’t we say we needed some space? Oh, like, why are you coming after us?”

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah! [pretending to be surprised] Oh, this isn’t my room, what?!?

[Eric chuckles]

Amanda (as Inara): Oh, that explains all of the pictures of Kohl. Oh, yeah. No, that's not mine. Why would I…? Mmm.

Brandon: Are we just super fans that broke into Kohl’s dressing room to steal a…piece of something?

Amanda: That's good. That's good. What if my day job is a mechanic of this shield friend?

Brandon: Mhm.

Amanda: And I want to be a wrestler but I’m not yet.

Brandon: Yes. I like that a lot.

Amanda: Okay,

Brandon: And I'm your uh…hype person.

Amanda: Yeah. Or just my - my bodyguard, because I'm such a good mechanic.

Brandon: Yes. Cause everyone knows that mechanics need [chuckling] bodyguards.

[Amanda joins in chuckling]

Eric: It’s the most dangerous job of all.

Brandon: It is. Where – who is this guy that’s just in here talking to us?

Eric (as guy in room): [defensively] I'm Derek! I’ve been here the whole time!

[Amanda laughing]

Brandon: God, Derek!

Eric: And then Derek goes invisible again. As you guys [laughing] figure out what Inara is going to look like as a mechanic, you guys are talked over and you don't know where Oak is, and you hear her heavy footsteps coming down. You brace yourself for the knock on the door. Before she does, you hear her say,

Eric (as The Oak): [surprised] Oh, Kohl! Hey! I was just looking for you. [confused] Who…am I fighting tonight?

Julia (as Kohl): [also confused] Why… are you asking me?

Eric (as The Oak): Well, no one is telling me and I thought I was fighting that cool girl with the skateboard, but she won't practice, and we have to do some sort of rehearsal before this. So, I really don't know what's going on.

Julia (as Kohl): Cool girl with the skateboard, like, about yea high…?

Eric (as The Oak): Yeah. you've been recommending her for like weeks.

Julia (as Kohl): That is true. I have been doing that. You know what? Let me see if I can track down Creative for you. I do need to like just get into my dressing room real quick though. I've had such a long day doing press.

Eric (as The Oak): I know. Listen, like…you don't have to lie to me. I know you were at lunch for like 2 hours.

Julia (as Kohl): Listen, it was a good sandwich.

[Eric laughing]

At Jersey Mike’s.

Eric (as The Oak): Listen, Jersey Mike's - definitely the best sandwich. That's why I'm in - their arena.

Julia (as Kohl): I always get it - with extra dressing.

Eric (as The Oak): Ta - ding!

[Amanda & Brandon chuckling]

Eric: I want either Inara or Tracey to just do a straight up d20 roll. There's something that I - I don't know if it's going to happen and I need to know what the dice says.

Amanda: Go for its Brandon.

Eric: I just want - this is a straight luck - luck check. So, a straight d20.

Amanda: Big money.

Julia: Nothing says luck like Brando.

Eric: [cackling] AAAHHAA! Got him.

[dice rolls]

Eric: [surprised] 18! Okay, good.

Julia: I thought it was a 13 for a second and I was like yep! Lucky 13.

[Amanda & Eric laughing]

Eric: So, with a 18 I think that Oak is like,

Eric (as The Oak): All right, fine…Yeah, that's fine. I'll see you down there. I got to practice with myself apparently? I mean, that's fine. I'll see you later.

Eric: And she walks away.

Julia: Listen, practicing chain wrestling. It's hard to do by yourself but you're better for it.

Eric: I can make a joke of a practice around wrestling myself but that would be inappropriate because I am an all-ages wrestler.

Julia: Thank you. PG rating.

Eric: PG rating for The Oak. Trees are for everyone…I say. All of the time.

Julia: I love that sign off. You really need to start putting that on merch.

Eric: I - listen. I've been trying, it’s really hard distribution is difficult.

Julia: Mmm.

Brandon: Tracey's a robot, but he did fall asleep in the room.

[Eric & Amanda laughing]

Eric: And Oak walks away.

Julia: Kohl’s going to enter the dressing room.

Eric: Kohl, I want to paint a picture for you.

Julia: Please do.

Eric: You open the door. And you see Inara and Tracey staring at each other, talking about which one of them is going to be the best mechanic.

There is – are 2 exploded crossbows that you have set up as your trap. The control panel that controls that thing is also open and the battery is just ripped out of it.

Also, you can see that all of your drawers inside of your vanity are open, including the one all the way at the bottom where you keep your megaphone. And Inara is currently holding that megaphone.

Brandon (as Tracey): So, the knee is connected to the thigh bone…and then the thigh bone goes to the quantum modulator…

Amanda (as Inara): Oh…

Brandon (as Tracey): And that is how mechanics, you know?

Amanda (as Inara): [towards Kohl] Oh, hi.

Julia (as Kohl): I really don't know what I expected.

[Eric chuckles]

Amanda (as Inara): You know, I just really liked your makeup. So, I was trying to put some on myself. Didn't get very far.

Eric: I will say, that is true. Inara has like blue eye shadow smeared on both of her eyes.

Julia (as Kohl): You know, you did come at me with a dagger when I offered it the other time?

Amanda (as Inara): Yep, yep. No, that’s true.

Julia (as Kohl): The blue looks nice though.

Amanda (as Inara): But, uh…thank you. I – That means so much, and now I will wear it the rest of my life as my color. But Tracey and I were being pursued by this very tall wrestler. I think you might have just talked to her, The Oak?

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah.

Amanda (as Inara): She seemed to think that I was supposed to fight her, and she wouldn’t leave me alone. So, we had to hide. Anyway, I apologize for breaking into your dressing room, that’s not really what friends do typically. But I think you understand that I was in a pinch, and anyway, here we are. Sorry about the – that.

Amanda: And Inara gestures at the crossbows. But there is this person here. What, uh, yeah. A lot happened. Anyway, he broke them, not us.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, I’m Tracey, by the way. I know that - my outfit, I know that I look really undercover, but…Tracey.

Julia (as Kohl): I...

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, you know.

Eric: Tracey looks like Tracey but he’s wearing all black. That’s the only difference.

Julia (as Kohl): I – I like the career change…

Brandon (as Tracey): Thank you.

Julia (as Kohl): It’s a good look.

Brandon (as Tracey): Thanks.

Eric: So…

[Eric laughing with Julia joining in]

Julia: [still laughing] Kohl is just kind of a little flabbergasted…

Eric: Yes, yeah.

Julia (as Kohl): Well, this - this day couldn’t get any weirder.

Eric: Yeah.

Julia (as Kohl): What’s going on?

Eric: It’s like everything’s…the fact that nothing is on fire I think is the only good thing about what you just walked into.

Julia: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, and again, Inara is holding the megaphone.

Julia (as Kohl): So, question. Whatcha doing with the megaphone?

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh…

Amanda (as Inara): So…

Julia (as Kohl): This – this seems like it’s gonna go well.

[Brandon chuckles]

Amanda: So Inara, shockingly, tells the truth. And catches Kohl up on Franny. And what Franny told us to do.

Amanda (as Inara): So, that’s what happened…

Julia (as Kohl): Oh…

Brandon (as Tracey): So, we did a small crime.

Julia (as Kohl): It seems…

Amanda (as Inara): Just a – a small crime.

Julia (as Kohl): It seems like multiple crimes might have occurred, I don’t know. Breaking and entering into museums kind of does fall into the category of more than one small crime.

Brandon (as Tracey): It was Free Museum Day, so like, didn’t really technically break in, you know?

Amanda (as Inara): We were trying to educate ourselves and like, defend their artifacts, so…

Julia (as Kohl): Well, I appreciate that.

Amanda (as Inara): Um, thank you.

Brandon (as Tracey): I am an artifact. Can an artifact break into its own museum? I don’t know.

Amanda (as Inara): Wow, is that like self-repatriation?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yes.

Amanda (as Inara): So, apologize for the deception and the almost-stealing. This is where we’re at. And If you don’t want me to take it, I – I’m not going to force it. But I am super scared, and I don’t know what’s going to happen if they don’t let you win this match.

Julia (as Kohl): Okay. But, my question is, why – why does she want the megaphone in the first place? Why, why my tech?

Amanda (as Inara): I’m not sure why exactly, but something else that happened to us. We met a god, and saw…

Julia (as Kohl): I’ll have some follow-up questions later probably.

[Eric chuckling]

Amanda (as Inara): The Centering, and your megaphone was there. Well the Mouthpiece part, it – it was there, at The Centering.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, you didn’t make this part, did you?

Julia (as Kohl): I mean, I found the components in Fidapolis in like basically a trash heap.

Brandon (as Tracey): Gotcha, that makes sense. Ze’ol’s trash.

[Eric laughing]

Julia (as Kohl): Wait, okay. So, you met a god, you saw The Centering, you saw part of my tech at The Centering?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah…

Brandon (as Tracey): You weren’t there though.

Julia (as Kohl): Okay, cool. That checks out, I don’t really remember that.

Brandon (as Tracey): That would be weird if you did.

Julia (as Kohl): It would.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, I might’ve been, who knows.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, no. We’ve heard a lot about how Tracey is very old? And apparently people don’t like warforged and they – there was some kind of rebellion or uprising? And haven’t even talked about this Tracey – the stuff that runs you is the Undying Light. So, you know.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, I kinda figured that.

Amanda (as Inara): Really?

Brandon (as Tracey): I mean yeah, Johnny, you know, brought me back to life with his magic touch.

Amanda (as Inara): I know, I didn’t think that there was like...

Brandon (as Tracey): I glow sometimes.

Amanda (as Inara): This like godly thing, I thought that was just like…lights.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, 6 one hand, dozen in the other.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, moving on. So, that is going to be very important somehow. And our new, not friend, but, ally, Franny…

Brandon (as Tracey): No, I mean…

Amanda (as Inara): Needs it for some reason.

Brandon (as Tracey): Not a friend or ally, just kind of useful.

Julia (as Kohl): Well, here’s - here’s my thing. Should we be giving a thing that’s apparently is from The Centering to a random woman who kidnapped Tracey?

Amanda (as Inara): That’s a great point. Wow. If only Tracey, we knew some amazing artificer who can perhaps make a replica of this thing…

Brandon (as Tracey): I know. Yeah like…

Amanda (as Inara): With the makeup and many tools that we have at our disposal right now.

Brandon (as Tracey): It would be so difficult to do such a thing. I can’t do it…

Amanda (as Inara): Expensive.

Brandon (as Tracey): So expensive! I’ve read so many books, and I have no idea how anyone can possibly do it!

Amanda (as Inara): It would take me like decades of study to catch up.

Brandon (as Tracey): So many decades.

[Amanda sighs]

Brandon (as Tracey): Just like, I don’t know, it’s a shame.

Amanda (as Inara): It’s a shame.

Julia (as Kohl): God, I have a couple hours before this match, I guess I can try something like that.

Brandon (as Tracey): [excitedly] COULD YOU!?!

[Eric laughing]

Amanda: [enthusiastically] Montage!!!

Eric: Oh my god, okay. So, here’s the montage.

[upbeat 80’s montage music]

So, the first thing, you start to pull things off of the wall in the dressing room. And you just have a smelter, like in the corner, that you pull out of the closet.

Julia: I mean obviously.

Eric: Obviously. And then you beat it down with a giant hammer, it gets super-hot, and it glows red, and you have your goggles on. And every so often you see Tracey like in the background being like, [high-pitched cheer] “Yeah, great, alright, yay!”

There are a bunch of games of Inara playing with a shield golem. Which I think, it just cuts to that and it’s very slow going. I want you to do a Deception check, but I want you to use your - add your proficiency bonus because you’re proficient in making stuff, but this is like you’re making a lie. So, I will say you have +7, so I will give you 2 more cause this is your literal job.

Julia: Sweet.

Eric: So, this is like a class action.

Julia: Hell yeah.

Eric: Um, so I’ll give you +7 in this roll.

Julia: Okay.

[dice rolls]

Julia: Alright, so it’s a 9 + 7. Which is a 16.

Eric: Okay with a 16, this is not – this is not optimal conditions. You’re currently in a dressing room…

Julia: I don’t know what you’re talking about, this is what I live for.

Eric: The safety code is all over the place, so…

Amanda: Did we like use the ranch dressing from the crudité in the smelting somehow?

Eric: Yeah, like you – you really are hacking this together. There is mayonnaise for some reason…

Julia: It really smells like a salad.

[Julia & Amanda chuckle]

Eric: I won’t tell you how you use it, but there is definitely mayonnaise. So, you do as good of a job as you can. I will say there are definitely imperfections.

[upbeat 80’s montage music fades]

You hold the two up. This took like 2 hours to do. You hold the two up, and the fake one…if you looked at both of them at the same time, you would know it was fake. I would also say that you are trying to talk to a hag who has been alive for over a thousand years, so it might be a hard sell.

Julia: Alright.

Eric: But you did - this is a good job.

Julia: Alright. Thank you. I tried my best.

Eric: There you go.

Amanda (as Inara): Alright Kohl, so you take the real one back, again so sorry for trying to steal it.

Brandon (as Tracey): Just, be really careful with it, okay?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah…

Brandon: It’s, uh, may have unimaginable power, who knows?

Amanda (as Inara): Maybe paint it? Maybe get a little cover? But no one should know that it’s here.

Brandon (as Tracey): Or maybe like don’t even use it.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah…ever.

Julia (as Kohl): I mean, I kind of need it for my gimmick in the match, but I will – I will do my best not to use it I guess since it seems like an item of unmeasurable power?

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay. Um.

Julia (as Kohl): Maybe…

Amanda (as Inara): Maybe just pretend that it does that one thing and not whatever else it does.

Julia (as Kohl): Well, I really only knew that it did that one thing, so…

Amanda (as Inara): Meanwhile, with this fake one, so I we made this cool thing…

Amanda: And I bring out the knit, talking pouch.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, so if I like reach into this and pull a string, and then it opens up, and it’s like a little portal to wherever Franny is. We don't know, that's like really anywhere she is. So, I'm just going to like yell through first make sure everybody is like cool to talk. And then and then talk to her.

Julia (as Kohl): That is super cool, I really want to look at that when you're done.

Amanda (as Inara): Cool, Trace. Any suggestions here?

Brandon (as Tracey): I, no. I just I'm going to stand over here while you first say hello.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh huh.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah.

Amanda (as Inara): Why don't you keep standing over there?

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

Amanda (as Inara): And then I'll just be like, “Oh, Tracey! Oh, sorry. You're making? You're making tea? Okay, I'll - I'll just do this”.

Brandon (as Tracey): Your omelets almost done! I’m still making it.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Perfect. I love it.

Julia (as Kohl): If we’re having omelets can I also have an omelet Tracey?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, what do you like, chives? What do you like?

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Some onions…

Brandon (as Tracey): Some cheese?

Julia (as Kohl): Maybe some peppers in there too?

[Brandon gasps]

Julia (as Kohl): Bell pepper.

Brandon (as Tracey): [gasps] Oh, I like it.

Amanda (as Inara): Wait, is there food?

Julia (as Kohl): Gosh.

Brandon (as Tracey): Inara, I’m not actually making omelets!

Eric: You’re all too deep – you’re too deep!

Julia: We’ll go to catering after, okay?

[Eric chuckling]

Amanda: Okay, okay.

Alright, so I'm going to angle myself so that my back is against like a nondescript white wall. And Franny  can’t see where I am. So, I will open the drawstring of the bag, reach in and find the one loose thread. Pull it, look away and say,

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, hey, Franny, it's – it’s Inara, is it a good time to talk?

Eric (as Franny): [muffled from the pouch] Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, I'm definitely wearing pants. So, don't worry about it.

Amanda (as Inara): Franny, I'm gonna ask you again, is – is it a good time to talk?

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Again, I'm wearing pants.

Amanda (as Inara): K.

Amanda: And then I'll look down into the bag and Eric, does the opening, just expand until it's like the size of a head or do I have look through a tunnel?

Eric: Yes. As you pull it, it gets like larger, the hole gets larger and larger and larger. So, it becomes like a porthole. Right. And then you were like sticking your head in. And then you have - you're looking down on whatever Franny's doing.

Amanda: Got It.

Julia: As Inara’s doing this Kohl kind of nudges Tracey and is like,

Julia (as Kohl): This seems really funny from like an outsider's perspective.

[Brandon & Eric laughing]

Eric: Good.

Amanda: It’s true.

Brandon: Shhh. We don’t make fun of Inara. She has lots of daggers.

Julia: She does. She does have a lot of daggers.

Brandon: She’s very savvy.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, oh! Hey! So, I just want to tell you we got the mouthpiece.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Oh, great. Awesome. Totally cool. Good. Good. I knew I could trust you my best friend.

Amanda (as Inara): Um, so, can you do the power thing now? I mean, I'm here at the stadium already, so I think it'd be kind of suspicious for me to leave. But we - we got it.

Amanda: And I was gonna hold it up kind of a quick near my face to show it to her.

Eric: Okay.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Alright. Cool, I mean, I really do need you to bring it back. I go to, I need to examine this for - I will do it as soon as you walk in the door, but I need you to bring it here.

Amanda (as Inara): Listen, I mean, if I - if I leave the stadium and then power goes out immediately, like people will see my face. They know I don't want this match to happen. I have my dog with me. It will be super suspicious.

Brandon (as Tracey): [yells in background] We need an exit!

Amanda (as Inara): Again, like, well, listen, we're allies in this. I have the mouthpiece right here. And, you know, you're just gonna have to trust me that I’ll bring it to you later. But, I promise as soon as the power goes out, I'm sure they'll evacuate. And I'll come right to you.

Eric: Oh, god, I think you need a roll for this because you two have opposite reasons of what you want to do. So, you need to beat her on this roll.

Amanda: Okay. Should I do Persuasion?

Eric: Yeah, Persuasion.

[dice rolls]

Amanda: I got 10 + 9 for a 19.

Brandon: Oh, that's a high number!

Eric: That is a high number!

Julia: Damn! You’re Persuasion’s good!

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Alright. Um, [sighs] you know, I usually don't do this on credit. Uh, but you know, yeah, I do need to make some amends to make your - your life better.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, the whole kidnapping thing…Mhm.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] That was not nice of me.

Amanda (as Inara): No…

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] So, I need you to bring this to me and come down to the Electroshack as soon as possible. Like, immediately, as soon as I turned out the lights, you get out of there. If you bring the mouthpiece to me, we can finally take down the Midnight Man.

Amanda (as Inara): I mean, I want to do that too. And as soon as I can leave without arousing suspicion, I will.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Okay, just close the bag. Count to 10, and then all of the lights will go out. And then you can get out of there.

Amanda (as Inara): Really?

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Yeah. I mean, what do you think? I mean, I can I can do it. I got it.

Amanda (as Inara): And they're going to stay off for like a day and a half, right?

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Yes. I mean, well - if you don't show up in like an hour, I think that you double crossed me, and I'll put the lights back on. But yeah. I will do it.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Alright. Let's do our secret handshake.

Amanda (as Inara): What's – what’s our secret handshake?

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Oh, I thought you would have come up with it already cause we're best friends.

Amanda (as Inara): Oh, no. I was testing you. Yeah, I have a secret handshake.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Oh, well. I didn't come up with a secret handshake. So, show it - you know what? Do it when you show up. We’ll learn the secret handshake together, it’s fine, it will be good.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, and it's gonna be up, down, left, right, sideways, down ways, make a pretzel, spin, leave.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Great. Okay.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, alright.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] I'll start practicing in here.

Amanda (as Inara): See you there.

Eric (as Franny): [muffled] Alright, sounds good.

Amanda (as Inara): Alright.

Amanda: I will bring my head backward close the bag. Kind of like pat it to make sure there's no space left inside and put it in my pack.

Amanda (as Inara): So, the lights are going to turn off like almost immediately. Kohl will you come with us? I don't want to be alone with this lady.

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, sure. I gotta say, I'm a little disappointed. Like I was gonna main event this performance.

Brandon (as Tracey): You would’ve won.

Julia (as Kohl): It would’ve been great.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, you would’ve won.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, but now there’s going to be even more like, anticipation and people are going to be so excited for when you come back to finally beat Lighthammer!

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, hopefully.

Eric: Hard cut to what Milligan first introduced this story to Lighthammer and Kohl and Kohl fell asleep. And there's a whole part where Milligan's like,

Eric (as Milligan): Alright, well, we're definitely going to use this, so like if there's something bad that happens, there is an emergency plan, there's a fire, the lights go out…we’ll like postpone it for a few days. We're still going to use it.

Julia: Sweet.

Eric: And then cut back.

Julia (as Kohl): Cool.

Amanda (as Inara): But no, I'm – I’m sorry to mess this up. Um, it wasn't your fault that Oatcake got involved, but I really appreciate it. You’re really helping out.

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, I get it. It’s all good. Let's go, uh save your dog and stuff.

Amanda: Alright, so Inara is going to put her pack on with Oatcake in the top, look at the clock on the wall and say,

Amanda (as Inara): Alright, should be like 3…2…1.

[lively drum beat begins]

Eric: Everything in the Kohl’s room is destroyed. So, you probably wouldn't be able to notice but the first thing you hear is the sound of 250 people simultaneously going,

Eric (as the crowd): [screaming in frustration] What?!?!?!

Eric: And you stick your head outside and all the entire floor is dark. Um, you also hear everyone is like getting up from you - like you hear chairs being moved back and people starting to get up and like everyone is going to walk towards their door to open up in about, a half a second.

Brandon (as Tracey): We gotta go. Let's go.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): We got like half a second.

Amanda (as Inara): Yep.

[Eric laughing]

Amanda: So, we'll just book it out of the room and down the emergency staircase. Is there one near Kohl’s door since she's on the end of the block?

Eric: Yeah, there's a staircase, uh to your left. It's like at Madison Square Garden where it's like terrible and dank and like a cave but this is literally a cave, there are bats in it. Because it's a fantasy world and…

Amanda: Sure.

[Eric laughs]

In the sandwich.

Eric: Yeah there’s like stalagmites and stalactites.

Brandon: Just like at Jersey Mike’s where you get bats in your sandwich.

Amanda: Is this like the toothpick of the sandwich?

Eric: No, it's just that it's built into a natural cave formation and they decided just to carve, uh into it.

Amanda: So, the cave is like the wrapping of the sandwich.

Eric: Yes.

Brandon: Is this like the coleslaw that everyone gets that no one eats?

Eric: [laughing heartily] It would be like the coleslaw, yeah. But yeah, you get it out of the arena. You can see the workers as you look back. You see the workers are like, spilling out of this [chuckles] the big ol’ sandwich. You see the tailgaters are also looking confused at all of their grills and their electrical powered lights and panini presses. Like they're all, everything in the area has gone dark.

Julia: Can I grab a panini as we pass?

Eric: Yeah, sure.

Julia: Cool.

Eric: That's fine.

Julia: Sweet.

Eric: So yeah, people are just kind of giving up in it faces, all the tailgaters are now moving over to the security to like, yell loudly and wonder what the hell's going on.

[lively drum beat fades out]

Amanda: Hey, it’s Amanda. Now, lots of people have talked about spring. But have you ever really THOUGHT about tree-buds specifically? Like, this little bulb on the end of a branch has an ENTIRE FRIGGIN FLOWER in it. The WHOLE THING OF LEAVES AND ALL. Yes, I’m aware that that’s not quite how cell generation works but pause with me a moment and just notice. What a marvel this world is. Welcome to the midroll.

Hey hi hello to our newest patrons: Amanda, Tobias, C, Liv, Dustin, Sabrina, Jackson, Brandon, Tegan, Julian, Roberto, Cali, Fritz, Joseph, KIPKA, Shelby, Michael, Nick, Dinah, Mary, and Kan’avain. Thank you for supporting the creation of art you care about, and we care about you.

We’re sponsored this week by 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn, NY, whose co-owner Lauren Bilanko is our Master Dungeon Master. Once a month we bring her your questions on games and GMing. This week’s question comes from Odessa, who asks, “I will be starting to pay D&D, and I want a character that is easy to play, preferably one that doesn’t take many customization decisions to play. What do you recommend?”

Lauren says, “Sounds like the Human Fighter could be a great option for you. Close your eyes and imagine what your character is wearing, what weapons they are carrying, what their demeanor is like... that should be enough to flesh out your character sheet. If you want to make in-game decisions easier, come up with a really great flaw and something your character is better at than most, everything else should fall into place naturally.”

Thanks, Master Dungeon Master! To pick up your first RPG or starter kit, you must go to Twenty Sided Store. Visit them online at twentysidedstore.com or in person in Brooklyn, NY. Use our discount code, JOINTHEPARTY, for 20% off. That’s twentysidedstore.com and use our discount code JOINTHEPARTY.

And finally, we’d like to thank the patrons whose support powers the show. But not like a general, blanket thanks. A specific, this is actually what your support means kind of thanks. Here at JTP headquarters, all of us have had extremely busy winters. So, we brought on some reinforcements to help us make the show sustainably and on time. Your support, the dollars you pledge to us on Patreon, is what lets us fairly compensate Jeff Brice, who’s helping out on editing, and our transcriptionist Stacee Brice. It means we can pay for our hosting and website each week and buy bagels to keep us fed during long recording sessions. So, thank you for supporting us. If you haven’t joined our Patreon yet, we hope this look into what that support means will help you consider pledging today. That’s at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.

All right! Now, let’s get back to the show.

[whooshing transition sound]

Eric: You book it towards Electroshack. And it looks less nefarious in the daylight, but not by much.

[Brandon & Eric chuckles]

Brandon: A little less kidnappy, but not by much.

Eric: Not really that much.

Amanda: Well, Tracey doesn't remember going into it.

Eric: That’s true, that’s your first time seeing the front of Electroshack.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah. Tracey walks up, and is like,

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, what a cool storefront!

Eric: So yeah, you are you're out there. Do you want to go you want to try to scope in? Or do you want to go through the front?

Amanda: I’ll go in through the front.

Eric: Okay, you're walking into the front. And it is Casey again working the front desk and he looks very tired.

Brandon: Oh, crap.

Eric (as Casey): Welcome to Electroshack. I'm Casey! How can I… wait a second your Finale’s friends. You can't come in here!

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, yeah, we're here to see Franny.

Brandon (as Tracey): [happily] I'm a security guard!

Eric (as Casey): I just said no, you're not doing that.

Julia (as Kohl): I'm one of your most valuable customers. I don't know why you're kicking me out.

Eric (as Casey): Okay, well, I need to see your Super Saver Deluxe card.

Julia (as Kohl): I have one of those.

Eric: Uh, roll for it. See if you have it.

Julia: What kind of roll is that?

Eric: Just roll for it. Just roll for it.

[dice rolls]

Julia: [unsure of the roll] 11.

Eric: No, you don't have it on you, unfortunately.

Julia: Damn it.

Julia (as Kohl): Don’t got one of those. Whoops.

Eric (as Casey): I'm sorry. Listen, if you don't have it, I cannot let you in. And also, I hate you. I also hate you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, I hate you too. And I will just move you if I need to.

Eric (as Casey): I’d like to see you try.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay…

Amanda: I'm gonna pull my bag out of my pocket and shout into it.

Amanda (as Inara): Hey, Franny, we’re out front!

[dice rolls while Eric laughs]

Brandon: [questionably] 14…for moving him…

Eric: Okay.

Brandon: Well, picking him up and moving him.

Eric: Oh, yeah. No Casey’s a massive pushover and a doofus. So…[laughing] you call, so Inara calls in and Franny’s like,

Eric (as Franny): [still muffled from the pouch] Yeah, come on back. It's fine.

Eric: And at the same time, you just like, push Casey out of the way.

Brandon: Hey, nice. I'm not trying to hurt him.

Eric: No, you're just like, displacing him from the current place. But yeah, he’s like,

Eric (as Casey): I wish I was more assertive. This is poor for me as an employee.

[Brandon chuckles]

Eric: And yeah, you guys can just walk on back and the vault is open. Because you called ahead and Franny like, unlocked the vault and like just put it off of the click so that you could just like kind of open it when you want it to.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, so…hi. Thanks for that. What's up? What's the plan? This is our friend Kohl. Oh, by the way, she was covering…

Brandon (as Tracey): Very, very powerful.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, she's really scary. And also, a demon. She also helped cover for us and get us out of the stadium. But yeah, we - we traveled together so…

Eric (as Franny): Oh, you’re a demon? Oh cool. That means we’re like cousins. But yeah, I got it.

Julia: Mhm.

Eric (as Franny): Listen, I have many tieflings on my mother's side of the family.

Julia (as Kohl): Oh, sweet, sweet.

Eric (as Franny): So, she's a demon lord so literally I guess that you know, you know how it is?

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, family.

Eric (as Franny): Yeah, families. [short beat] Oh okay, well it was really nice to meet you. I mean, just like bring it over here, I want to see it. I want to see. I've never I've never seen one in real life. So, this is very exciting to see one of the artifacts of The Centering in front of me.

Eric: She walks over to the far wall, which was kind of like sheer with the wall before. But then two doors kind of spring open. And she just walks into a hole [chuckling] in the wall, which you could assume is a closet I guess, but she's in there for like a long time. And you hear banging and clanging and things falling over, and she goes,

Eric (as Franny): Damn it, I needed that. I gotta pick those up.

Eric: And then she pulls out a giant cauldron and she drags it behind her and sets it next to her…chair. It looks like it's a bunch of like old radios like melted down and then put back together.

Amanda: Like random antenna and stuff?

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Oh…

Eric (as Franny): I made this myself pretty cool, right?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, we can tell.

Eric (as Franny): That was hurtful, but again, deserved.

Julia (as Kohl): [whispering] I know she kidnapped Tracey, but I really, really think she’s cool.

[Amanda & Eric chuckling]

This is very cool guys.

Brandon (as Tracey): That is a very large betrayal Kohl.

[Eric giggling]

Julia (as Kohl): Listen, I get it. I’ll beat her up if I have to. But this is very cool.

Brandon (as Tracey): Cool. Alright. I’m going to steal Alabaster later. Goodbye.

Julia (as Kohl): Okay.

[Eric continues giggling]

Eric (as Franny): Okay, well, let me see it.

Amanda: So Inara will hand over the fake mouthpiece wrapped in a handkerchief.

Brandon: All of us hold our breath at once.

Amanda: I’m going to try to look very casual.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, yeah, Kohl. Just, just, just bond with her, don't worry about it. We need her to believe us, so…

Brandon (as Tracey): But not for real, don't actually bond with her.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, no, no. Like fake-bond.

Eric: [laughing] Don’t actually bond with her…

Brandon (as Tracey): Make a choice here Kohl.

Julia (as Kohl): [quietly] My choice is you.

Eric: So, she has a +3 to intelligence. And I'm going to say that if she rolls a 15 or above she knows this is fake just from seeing it.

Julia: I’m so nervous.

Eric: Okay?

Amanda: Oh boy.

[dice rolls]

Eric: Well [laughing] Brandon, what did I roll?

Brandon: Uh, yeah that's an 18. Um…

Eric: So, +3, that is a 21.

Brandon: Now…

Julia: I almost died last time I got into a fight.

Brandon: Have you considered, not doing that?

Eric: Uh, no I haven't , you know, I thought about it. I'm going to do it anyway.

Brandon: Okay. Thank you for taking my concern into consideration.

Eric: And I really want you to say but you know, honestly, I just need to make the moves that I do as the controller of reality for the story. With 21, she like dramatically pulls the handkerchief off. And she looks at it…


Eric (as Franny): [skeptically] Okay, Come on…guys?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah?

Amanda (as Inara): Uh huh?

Brandon (as Tracey): What?

Eric (as Franny): Guys?

Brandon (as Tracey): What?

Amanda (as Inara): What’s wrong?

Eric (as Franny): This is not it. This is not the Liar’s Mouthpiece.

Amanda (as Inara): Tracey see? I told you she would pass.

Brandon (as Tracey): [laughing nervously] Yeah! We got her good! [whispers to Inara] What? What are you talking about?

Amanda (as Inara): We're not just going to hand over an ancient relic from The Centering to just anyone. We wanted to make sure you knew what you were going for.

Eric: [giggling] I need you to roll a Deception check.

Amanda: Sure. I got +9 baby.

[dice rolls]

I see your 18 and raise you an 18 + 9 for a 27.

Eric: Hot damn. Okay with a 27 she says,

Eric (as Franny): I mean, yeah, I did have the highest…intelligence out of all of the hags in all of the different Concentric States. Everyone knows that me, Franny Sunflower, is extremely good at identifying magic objects. I mean, you didn't know that but like, I kind of have a reputation. Oh, right here…

Amanda (as Inara): Got it. Well, you'll forgive us…

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s an interesting kind of reputation.

Amanda (as Inara): You'll forgive us then.

Eric (as Franny): I’m going to ignore that because I kidnapped you.

Amanda (as Inara): You'll forgive us for just asking these required questions from our employment um in - in Fidapolis, but just what do you tend to do with this mouthpiece? I know again, we’re required, so just bear with me.

Eric (as Franny): It is a very good question. Well you see this very amazingly put together cauldron I have here.

Amanda (as Inara): Oh, yeah.

Eric (as Franny): Well, I'm gonna…

Amanda (as Inara): Bespoke.

Eric (as Franny): I made it myself. I didn't know if you could tell.

Julia (as Kohl): [whispering] Yes, it's very good…

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s fine.

[short pause]

Eric (as Franny): I heard at least one person say it was very good, so I'm going to go with that.

Amanda: I stare at Tracey.

Julia: You're welcome.

Eric (as Franny): Um, Well, what I'm gonna do…I'm gonna take some Undying Light and pour it on there. And I'm going to do is say some magic spells. Anything that I can conjure…

Amanda (as Inara): What kinds of spells?

Eric (as Franny): The essence of The Centering two key lock everything down and put the – well…the thing that is threatening the entire world kind of back where it came from.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is that the Council of…

Brandon: Tracey stops himself.

Eric (as Franny): Yes. Oh, yeah. Council of Bright. Very good. You so you know more of that? I don't really have to explain all this stuff to you. It seems like you're already on its way.

Brandon (as Tracey): Why do you want - Why do you want to do that?

Eric (as Franny): Well, I kind of like this universe. And I saw what happened the first time.

Brandon (as Tracey): What - what happened the first time?

Eric (as Franny): I mean, you made it sound like you knew what was going on?

Brandon (as Tracey): I mean, yeah, same page. Do you remember when that thing happened? That…you remember? In that time?

Eric (as Franny): Oh, okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): Do you remember now?

Eric (as Franny): Alright, I understand what’s happening. This - This explains why you were so mad that I thought you were bloodthirsty and terrible. [short pause] Okay, here we go. Alright.

Eric: So, Franny goes back into her closet. And she rummages around for stuff, and there is more crashing and banging. She takes out like an artist’s palette, and a very large mug. She goes over the tap, she fills up the mug with the Undying Light.

She closes the door and she goes over the far wall and reaches in her pocket and she takes out a massive paintbrush. And she sticks the paintbrush into the mug and smears it all over the artist’s palette.

Eric (as Franny): I just got to get my colors going if I'm going to tell this full story, this is fine. Eric: And she starts painting. And she draws some rudimentary shapes, where there's like some stick figures. There's like a guy you know, there's a man because they're wearing a hat. And there's like a woman because they have like, the triangle of a dress.

Eric (as Franny): I don't ascribe to these gender roles, but like, I'm not that good. I just need to do it on the on the wall.

Amanda (as Inara): Cause you know, only men wear hats.

Eric (as Franny): You know, men super love hats, uh…in my experience.

Eric: And then she draws like another creature with like a beard and is like,

Eric (as Franny): Okay, this is a dwarf.

Eric: And then she draws a figure with horns and she’s like,

Eric (as Franny): That kind of looks like you.

Eric: And then she starts to draw a bunch of just others stick figures and she puts like a sun in the sky and puts like sunglasses on the sun. So, she then backs away and she stands back next to the three of you and is like,

Eric (as Franny): Alright, check it out. Everyone look over here. Here's a presentation that I can put together for you.

Eric: She claps her hands twice.

[pensive, thought-provoking music plays]

And it's like a movie is starting, like a presentation is beginning. So, like the lights dim over there. And then the stick figures start to take actual shape. Like they are changing from just stick figures and becoming like looking like people.

And you're starting to see like colors in there. It's then it's starting to look like a light bright picture. With that glow against the back wall. The pictures change and move, and this is how she narrates the story.

Eric (as Franny): First of all, before we start, um again, not really great artist, but I do have, you know, innate and terrible magic powers. But if you -if you have any questions…

Amanda (as Inara): Looks great, looks great.

Eric (as Franny): if you have any questions, please raise your hand. Looking at you, Big Guy. I know you love questions. Because of when. I kidnapped you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Wow, okay. That's just presumptuous of you.

Eric (as Franny): We’re best friends. All right here right.

Brandon (as Tracey): I was going to tell you how good your art skills were but, now I’m not.

Eric (as Franny): Yeah, well, I'm very glad because I'm –  I feel very bad about them.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah. And you say critical things under your breath that everyone can hear and…

[Sunny & Tracey bicker over each other]

Eric (as Franny): I mean it like it was I just think we’re best friends.

Amanda (as Inara): [quietly] Wow, Kohl. Aren’t these pictures so good?

Julia (as Kohl): [quietly responds] Yeah, they are really cool.

Amanda (as Inara): Wow.

[Eric laughing]

This has been a complimentary aside.

Eric (as Franny): Thousands of years ago, the land didn't have a name. I mean, everyone had their own name for it, which is the same thing as having no name at all.

Eric: The pictures start to form, I guess what you've seen is like the land mass of all the Concentric States. Usually when you look at a map of it, there are the very strong divided lines that divide the actual states, but it's just like, blank.

You also don't see the glittering jewel of Concentra right in the center. So, then you see different cities and like spots on the map pop up and fall and pop up and fall. It's like you're seeing something on a really long timeline.

Eric (as Franny): Empires rise and fall and the animals and plants and magics came into being and then were snuffed out, and gods and religions ebbed and flowed like the tide itself. For a while there, there was relative peace. And after a particularly nasty scourge of zombie plants, the heroes of the realm came together and became a Council. So, you know what happens next.

Eric: And she touches Tracey in the ribs.

Eric (as Franny): You know what I'm talking about.

Brandon (as Tracey): [uncomfortable] Don’t – don’t touch me.

Eric (as Franny): Okay, you know what happens next, people get jealous, people hurt each other's feelings. No one really talks about it. And there's one asshole that no one can really stands but I don't really do anything about and he just kind of does what he does. In this case…

Eric: And then you see a dais and like a bunch of people in the stick figures are now at the dais. But there’s one person that has like extra glow around them.

Eric (as Franny): In this particular case, this unchecked son of a bitch has a direct connection to an unlimited source of power, which he found through his divine faith. See, the Undying Light ate them up. And then could in fact raise an army of warforged to tear through the land like hot tea through rice paper.

Eric: And you see that this glowing figure then starts to raise little like, robot men. It starts as a few and then starts to grow and grow and the entire wall is then covered in little robot stick figures.

Eric (as Franny): He was a ruling class of one of unbearable lightness. There you go. The Council of Bright.

Eric: You're so drawn in by the picture that you don't hear the loud slurp [extended slurping] that happens behind you and they’re like,

Eric (as Franny): Man, I just can't get enough of this stuff. It's so good.

Julia: Oh, so gross.

Eric (as Franny): Okay, see talking for a while I get parched.

There was a long decade of rule with radiance and metal of confirmation of continuous displays of ostentatious power. It was a super bummer. There was a whole stadium that was set up just so the power of the warforged army and everyone, whether they were forced to or needed the circus of distraction, would go see them.

Amanda (as Inara): Oh…

Eric (as Franny): I - have you seen this before?

Amanda (as Inara): Oh no, I just really liked the little lion that you drew, sorry.

Amanda: I look over at Tracey.

Eric: And then you see that it goes from being a lion to like, a monster with like five heads, and like all these like small little robot men are fighting each other. And then there's like a rough drawing of like a crowd in a stadium and they're all cheering.

Eric (as Franny): Listen, I apologize, again, for holding you captive, Peter. My bad. It’s totally on me.

Julia: Kohl looks at Tracey, and is like,

Julia (as Kohl): [discreetly] Peter?

Brandon (as Tracey): [hushing] Shhhh.

Julia (as Kohl): [whispering back] Okay.

Eric (as Franny): But I have seen just one of you pull the scales off of a wyrmling and then a bunch of people Jerry about it. So pretty dangerous. And then you know the whole conquering and destroying and all that terrible stuff sort of thing…My bad…Sorry, I kidnapped you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Sure.

Eric (as Franny): I’m glad you accepted my apologies. We're best friends. As you can see, well,

Eric: And then it becomes a landscape of Fidapolis as it is now. The picture then morphs and swirls a little bit and becomes what you've seen as the Fidapolis castle on top of the hill.

Eric (as Franny): As you can see, it's really not like that anymore. There is a whole story of valor and fighting and vengeance and rubble and all that… really kind of boring if you've heard all the hero stories before.

But the Council of Bright in the end were sealed off in an astral prison in the sky.

Eric: So, then you see a picture of the night sky and there's the moon and all the stars. And then as Inara has seen before in her movie of The Centering. There is the other hole in the sky that glows very brightly with five stars dotting the outline.

Eric (as Franny): But you know the important stuff unfortunately is the annoying, boring political stuff. This is The Centering. I didn't realize that nobody knew, I feel like when I say it, everyone goes, “Oh, The Centering! Oh my god. I’ve only heard about that in books and stuff”.

So, when you didn't, I assumed that you knew what it was, but turns out you didn't. But The Centering is the political stuff. The Centering was really just a meeting in a conference room. The leaders who survived and those who came forward in their place divided the land up into city-states because it was easier to take care of themselves than to work together.

Amanda (as Inara): What - What do you mean the ones who survived?

Eric (as Franny): Oh, right.

Eric: So, she like - she like waves her hand and she wipes the map off of the painting and then like a family tree, like various family trees, starts to repaint itself on there.

Eric (as Franny): Yeah, I mean like so one of the heroes you like destroyed the massive velociraptor – venusaur - zombie thing?

Yeah, the Council of Bright threw them in the dungeon for like 10 years and they died. So, like there's their - their daughter had to ascend the throne and other stuff like that. Super grisly, don't - do not have time to talk about it. But like a bunch of people died in this you know, terrible decade of autocratic and terror rule, you know, as it…as you do.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh huh.

Eric (as Franny): Okay.

Eric: She wipes the board again, and it starts to come back to this dais. And the stick figures that pop up again are just like the people who are in Inara’s movie dream as well. There's dragonborn. There's a kanku, there's a dwarf. There is a human [chuckles] with a hat. And there is a bird person. You know a aarakocra standing there as well.

Eric (as Franny): This is how the world as we know it came to be.

Eric: And then you see there's another drawing of another person, with very large eyes and angel-like wings, who is glowing in a different way than the Council of Bright person was glowing. And that even from a stick figure, you know, that is striking visage of The Speaker.

[Pensive, thought-provoking music fades]

Amanda: Yeah, I can just tell she's a little bit annoyed at me, so that's how I know.

Brandon: She got the bagel order wrong even on this so, that’s how we know.

Eric: Exactly.

Eric (as Franny): So, the first Speaker, who would now be called Speaker, infused each one of these items…

Eric: And then you see small like little pictures of all of the five artifacts pop up in each person’s hand.

Eric (as Franny): Each was infused with a magical password into that prized item for each of the representatives who we now call Representatives.

Eric: And you see like little letters appear over each one of their heads corresponding with the five city-states of the Concentric States. So, does anyone have any questions before I move on?

Julia (as Kohl): I have one.

Eric (as Franny): Okay.

Julia (as Kohl): You said passwords associated with the artifacts?

Eric (as Franny): Why…not like an actual password. It’s not like a word…

Julia (as Kohl): Not like a pass…word?

Eric (as Franny): They - they are instilled with actual essence to hold these locks together. And you hold the astral prison in the way that it is.

Amanda (as Inara): [confused] So would like, using it…loosen the bonds?

Eric (as Franny): [unsure] No…no. That’s a good question, okay. That goes into my next point.

Julia (as Kohl): Okay.

Eric (as Franny): I'm going to put a pin in that. Does anyone else have any questions?

Brandon: Tracey raises his hand.

Eric (as Franny): Alright, Peter, what do you got?

Brandon (as Tracey): Where do they - where do they go?

Eric (as Franny): Who?

Brandon (as Tracey): All of my kind?

Eric (as Franny): Oh, the - the warforged? Well, uh…well, in order to you know, win a dramatic battle, you have to destroy all the enemy. So…you know how it goes.

Brandon (as Tracey): [defeated] So, I am literally the last? The only?  

Eric (as Franny): You are the only that I have seen. Yes. You can see again why I took precautionary measures when I saw you - when I saw you. Cause you know the last time I saw things that looked like you…

Brandon (as Tracey): [sadly] People…

Eric (as Franny): People that look like you…yeah. Not so great for the people who were involved also 1100 years ago.

Amanda (as Inara): And who's in the prison then?

Eric (as Franny): Great question. The Council of Bright. The guy.

[echoing orb sound, whooshing begins]

Amanda (as Inara): What's his name?

Eric (as Franny): His name. I…you know…when someone starts declaring themselves, they're all - a ridiculous nickname. You kind of just follow the ridiculous nickname and all that's all that it is.

I didn't know the guy personally but living through all this is kind of the one-person Council, the Council of Bright. They have a lot of other like sort of nicknames for himself. But all kind of revolving around that.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, like what?

Eric (as Franny): Uh, the Light Ruler…uh, the Undying One. A lot of variations of Council, the Council of Brilliance, the Gleaming Council, the Radiant Council, things like that. [short pause] The Council of One was definitely something that, uh, instilled fear in a lot of people.

Amanda (as Inara): And he's just been alone up there stewing…plotting revenge for 1100 years?

Eric (as Franny): [uncomfortable] Well, you see there, this is some major gossip we’re getting into. Okay, so…let's talk about that. Answer your question.

Well, I need to ask you a question, because every presentation needs a back and forth…

Amanda (as Inara): Of course.

Eric (as Franny): Between the audience and them. Who do – do you know the Midnight Man?


Amanda (as Inara): Umm….

Eric (as Franny): It seems like you do.

Amanda (as Inara): So, we weren't sure. But now we are. That it's our friend…and I'm a little bit nervous to tell you his name because he's not a bad guy. I think he's just being used.

Eric (as Franny): Okay, hm…

Amanda (as Inara): [hesitantly] So, if we tell you, he can't be sacrificed. He - we can't - we can't kill him.

Eric (as Franny): Well, I- I kinda need to know who it is or what's going on. Because I haven't seen anything like this since the Council of Bright was out stomping on people with their, you know, war forged army. So, I can only – and I'm still trying to figure out how this is happening in the first place.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, my favorite thing is lying. So, to try it to tell the truth is a challenge. Can you just promise me that, if it comes down to it, we will try every route possible to save him…first?

Eric (as Franny): He will. If you know who the Midnight Man is, and the Midnight Man is the thing that we're going to figure out hopefully. I mean, killing the vessel…is not destroying the thing that's happening. Though whatever is happening here is not in our best interest. This is going to jump, or, or just continue to break regardless of the thing that is wandering around now.

Amanda (as Inara): So, yes or no? We're going to try to preserve his life.

Eric (as Franny): Preserve? Yes. I would say preserve is a very good word for it.

Julia (as Kohl): That makes me think like we're going to send him an amber and put them in a museum.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, no, he is a person and uh, has a family and needs to be able to walk around and live his life. So, are we going to try to have that outcome or no?

Eric (as Franny): I honestly…

Brandon (as Tracey): Let's be blunt. I will kill you before you kill him.

Eric (as Franny): Again…it's not a - again. It's not a kill thing. It is also, [chuckling] you’re not the first one who has tried, let’s just say that first. The other thing, it’s not a kill thing. Again, killing would be bad for all of us involved. We are not going to do that. But we need to kind of put everything together.

I don't know what is going on with him as a person. But it seems that all four - four out of the five stars are going away. That it seems like the Midnight Man or boy, your friend is drenched in magic. And is affiliated with the least one of these items.

Eric: And the five drawings of the pictures can like light up like their highlighted on a PowerPoint.

Amanda (as Inara): I know this is not going to be easy, or probably simple. But all I'm saying is…the most important thing is that he walks out of here. I don't care about the universe.

Eric (as Franny): Alright, I guess let's care about - let's care about both. I think we should care both.

Brandon (as Tracey): Why don’t you just continue?

Eric (as Franny): Okay. It seems that this thing, whatever one of these items is getting cracked from the inside to loosen these passwords. And the looser the bonds, the more than that boy, the more that your friend must be losing his damn mind and getting closer and closer to the Council getting set free.

So, what I need to know from you is, does he have an item and I - I'm like 95% there. This is the jigsaw puzzle, I found the corners. I got the sides, there's just like a map that like has a lot of lines on it and I need like the – I need some help here. So, who is that? Do they have something? And let's figure out how to stop him.

Brandon (as Tracey): What - what is your plan if you get these items? Why do you need, why are you doing this?

[echoing orb sound, whooshing ends]

Eric (as Franny): I like the universe in the way that it is. I have a pretty sweet deal and someone else using my delicious source to just kind of get tainted and taste like…I don't know like you know when like deli meat kind of like turns? But there’s nothing gross on it. And it definitely tastes weird there's like a weird metallic taste on it…

Julia (as Kohl): Slimy.

Eric (as Franny): It’s going to ruin my - yeah it gets like a sheen on it. The whole thing will just get ruined if there's like some evil stuff going on there. So, I mean personally, you know I…selfishly I think it's delicious. I also kinda like the world as it is. Pretty cool.

I need one of the items and there's kind of like an order to the items. Again, part of The Centering, we're dealing with people here who are selfish and make choices but there’s like a descending order to how powerful the items are.

Julia (as Kohl): Can you tell us that order?

Eric (as Franny): Okay, well first I need - I just need the weakest one. I was looking for the weakest… it has a long… tongue. I mean we can all agree that probably the weakest one is the thing that looks – makes you look like a terrible clown. So, I need that.

Brandon (as Tracey): To do what?

Eric (as Franny): Again, I can see if I mix everything together, I think that we can we create like a capturable and figure out what to do next. We need to stop the all the whole – the last star from going out or everything that happened before is going to happen again. Which I think we can all agree is bad.

Amanda (as Inara): Kohl, let’s give it over.

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah? Yeah. We – we’re still not sure exactly what this thing does.

Amanda (as Inara): We need to stop our friend from dying. And this sounds like the only plan we have so far.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah.  

Julia (as Kohl): Alright, if we're – we’re all in agreement on that like, I care about Alonzo too…

Eric (as Franny): Oh.

Julia (as Kohl): [realizing what she said] Shit.

Eric (as Franny): Wait.

Brandon (as Tracey): Did I tell you my name is actually Tracey? I was lying the whole time, it's not Peter. Like isn’t that wild that just talked about…

Amanda (as Inara): Oh! Mine’s Inara, yeah. Hi. Good to meet you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Uh, your bowl is cool…

Amanda (as Inara): Alonzo Kiko…is the Midnight Man.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, you just went ahead…

Eric (as Franny): Alonzo…

Brandon (as Tracey): What is going on?

Eric (as Franny): Last name…what?

Amanda (as Inara): Kiko.

Julia (as Kohl): Kiko comma, Alonzo.

Eric (as Franny): Oh…Kiko comma Alonzo. Okay.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, the prince. The person probably best positioned to make change, take items, travel between places, not have questions asked of him.

Eric (as Franny): And they look like…

Eric: She wipes the painting clean and there is a very detailed…

Amanda: Pointillism?

Eric: It's like little the little Light Bright’s are coming up and it comes up looking like a older version of Alonzo which Tracey and Inara recognize as a photo, do you remember the book back in the - all the way back. Alonzo's great-great-grandfather. Great-great multiple great -grandfather.

Eric (as Franny): That guy?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, that's him.

Eric: And it does like - it does like a CSI enhance of the medallion that he’s wearing. And it is of course the same medallion.

Eric (as Franny): And that medallion?

Brandon: Yeah….

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Eric (as Franny): [frustrated] Ugh... with the number one item there. Okay.

Amanda (as Inara): On the upside, just remembered. We have two items in this room.

Eric (as Franny): Why, I need to see why so far. I've only seen one fake one. So, I would like to see at least one.

Amanda (as Inara): Alright.

Amanda: And I'm going to open my pack take Oatcake out and plop her on the floor. Dig, take out clothes, take out apples, take out sleeves of oatcakes, take out my Mr. Sippy.

Julia: How many bagels?

Amanda: There's only one bagel and it's a little bit questionable, but damn it, I will eat it.

Brandon: It’s got a sheen.

Amanda: Take out my lock picking kit. Take out my water skin. Take out my tarp. Take out my tent. Take out a very wrinkled waiter’s uniform.

[Eric laughing]

And then at the very bottom, wrapped in a muddy tarp, is a pair of boots. And I set them in front of me on the floor and then back away.

Eric: Franny walks like, gingerly, over to the boots. And she's like sniffing them a little bit too, and she goes over to one and she picks it up and turns it over and sees like the secret compartment that's on the bottom of the sole. And she licks it.

Brandon (as Tracey): Ugh, why…

[Everyone joins in with disgusted sighs]

Eric (as Franny): This is how…I figure things out. Okay, these are real. Yeah, these are Yeah, these are the boots of grand if I ever saw them. Have it still…enchanted mud taste. Okay, that's one.

Eric: And then she takes both and tosses them over her head and they both land in the cauldron.

Amanda (as Inara): Oh, okay.

Julia (as Kohl): I think maybe we should be treating uh artifacts of an immense power a little bit more cautiously.

Amanda (as Inara): Also...

Eric (as Franny): I can tell you these are, well if you have artifacts of not intense power, they're the ones you got to be worried about. These are made real well.

Julia (as Kohl): Hah. Alright. Far enough.

Amanda (as Inara): Also, kind of along to my ex-girlfriends and maybe dish.

Eric (as Franny): We're going to dish later. Mouthpiece first.

Amanda (as Inara): Kohl.

Julia: Kohl takes the megaphone out of her bag and hands it over.

Eric: Franny pops the mouthpiece off of the megaphone and, [giggling] throws like the rest of the scrap back at you.

Julia: Kohl, like - like visually winces.

Eric: She puts the mouth over hers. Tracey and Inara, she starts talking in like terrible guttural death metal on the ears sound but Kohl, see?

I told you, this thing…She likes sounds very normal? It's like, “Oh, hey. Good morning. It's nice to see you”.

Julia (as Kohl): Oh Man. It's so nice to hear Infernal.

Eric (as Franny): Yeah, yeah, this is a real deal.

Eric: She tosses it into the cauldron again, casually.

Amanda (as Inara): [sighs] Ohh…

Brandon (as Tracey): There's more than one. This is the only way that warforged were made is… if I stop this, am I am I the only one? Is that it?

[Franny sighs]

Amanda (as Inara): What's different between Tracey and Alabaster?

Eric (as Franny): Who?

Amanda (as Inara): Oh, uh. Kohl's, uh companion…

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah.

Amanda (as Inara): Construct. He's great.

Julia (as Kohl): You've probably seen him on some posters around town.

Eric (as Franny): Oh, yeah. They're amazing. Uh, Robot, construction. Dynamo.

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah.

Eric (as Franny): Just…okay.

Amanda (as Inara): Just with no disrespect to Alabaster or to you Kohl, Tracey seems to be somewhat different.

Julia (as Kohl): Oh, no, Tracey is very, very impressive from like, just a mechanical sense.

Eric: So, Franny picks up what are the batteries that are just kind of strewn around on the floor. And she goes over to the tap, and she kind of like shoves it up into [giggles] shoves it up into the giant pipe and unscrews it for a bit and screws it back and there's like a rudimentary gage or you know, like so in some like soda bottles? There's like a slit on the side where you can see how full it is? It’s like that. This thing is like filled up with bright liquid all the way to the top.

Eric (as Franny): Okay, so the way that these batteries work is you only get a small bit of Undying Light here in it. Again, I'm Undying Light energy is not liquid deliciousness. I - I've only kind of magic to this so because if you saw the Undying Light energy in its true form it would kind of scramble your brain.

So, there's only a limited amount here and it powers the things. It’s just a fun coincidence that it powers the things that it does. Our friend…[unsure] Peter, he…

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s Tracey.

Eric (as Franny): I mean, I'm going to have to get used to it.

Brandon (as Tracey): You can call me Peter, it’s fine.

Eric (as Franny): Okay, so our friend Peter here…

Brandon (as Tracey): Should I – should I, should I be Peter?

Amanda (as Inara): I think you she do what feels good in your heart.

Brandon (as Tracey): Tracey Peter.

[Eric laughs]

Eric: TR8CP4T4. That’s your serial number

Eric (as Franny): Peter here is infused with the as much Undying Light energy as you can kinda stick into a thing. He can walk, and he can talk, and he has his own ideas and as you get enough of them together and you convince them as such, you tell them there's one master they do what they want.

But it's more than just being a mechanical marvel warforged. Tracey is a person. Is it - is what it is and dictated by the whims of the gods as much as many of us are.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is the Council of Bright the only entity that’s ever made us?

Eric (as Franny): Before I…maybe a while ago if you prayed hard enough to the Undying Light and you set up enough candles. Uh, maybe your thresher could come to life for a robotic skeleton. If you put the thing  out, you would get the blessing of the Undying Light. But I think in this concentrated way, coming out as much as much and as fast and furious as the Council of Bright did, I would say…he was the only one.

Brandon (as Tracey): Got it.

Eric (as Franny): Honestly, it just makes you special. And in a good way, not like we're all special. We all live and we all die. I mean, I don't but like, everyone else does. But you are the remaining…singular individual they can live in this modern world and the Concentric States and beyond and could - could figure out what happens next.

I do not, I cannot properly understand the machinations of the world and time that led you to our modern times and living. But I think that's pretty interesting. I think you would too.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah.

Eric (as Franny): So, here's what I think we should do.

Eric: She throws one hand up and wipes all of the glow in the dark paint off the wall.

Eric (as Franny): I think we need to make a plan. We need to lure Alonzo, somewhere. It seems like this - this last star should go out pretty easily. So, they might be looking for something. Alonzo and uh, the Council that's in his head, I guess. I can give you the tools to stop him. We just got to bring him somewhere safe and make it happen. What do you think?

Julia (as Kohl): Well, we have an empty arena. Have y'all ever heard of a empty arena match?

Amanda (as Inara): No…

Brandon (as Tracey): No.

Julia (as Kohl): Well, it's basically a match where there's no audience. Which means we're not putting any lives in danger. And we could just lure him there. We could put up some posters and say it's a Midnight Man versus Kohl the demon match for something I guess?

Brandon (as Tracey): I like that. Just like call him out.

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah. That’s good.

Amanda (as Inara): And he seemed to really want that battery. So, what if the prize was like - an even bigger battery?

Brandon (as Tracey): A giant…barrel size battery.

Brandon: And Tracey looks at Franny.

Eric (as Franny): I mean, yeah, I mean, I got a lot of this stuff here just I…listen if I flip - the flip the switch back on. Think about how much of this stuff needs to be used to power the arena. Like gobs. There's no like unit of Undying Light energy. So, I'm just saying gobs.

Brandon (as Tracey): I like gobs.

Eric (as Franny): Gobs is good.

Amanda (as Inara): It’s good.

Eric (as Franny): [chuckling] Or metric gobs.

Amanda (as Inara): Or we could just like, carry a whole bunch in a barrel and leave the arena dark. That way people aren't tempted to come.

Eric (as Franny): Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. People would show up for an empty arena match. I would. But I'm kind of a troublemaker.

Brandon (as Tracey): We gotta get him a flier directly.

Amanda (as Inara): We gotta get people away from the arena.

Brandon (as Tracey): We gotta get the energy to the arena

Amanda (as Inara): And we gotta make sure the staff is nowhere near there because only we four can be there.

Brandon (as Tracey): And then we gotta not kill Alonzo.

Brandon: And Tracey looks at Franny.

Eric (as Franny): Again, I said that would be bad for everybody involved.

Amanda (as Inara): Or the amber thing sounded bad too, so no preserving him in amber…

Eric (as Franny): I mean better than death. I’ve only so many options to stop the terrible calamity to befall our entire land.

Brandon (as Tracey): One question. Where were you during all of The Centering, original Centering?

Eric (as Franny): [sighs] That’s a good question. I remember like it was yesterday…

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, let's skip forward to the good parts.

Eric (as Franny): [chuckling] I remember like it was recent.

[Amanda & Brandon chuckling]

Yeah, I was just kind of hanging out. Uh, you know? Let’s seeing what I was doing. Probably sniffing, sniffing for some Undying Light.  Good. Oh, you know what? That was the first day that I tasted the Undying Light. It was…you never forget your first. It was like a whole ball of sunshine. Just like all throughout my body. Delicious.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

Eric (as Franny): I Oh, I also remember I definitely cursed a bunch of people that day but that was their own fault. They - they went back on a on a deal.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, so…

Eric (as Franny): And they lost a card game. So that was on them.

Brandon (as Tracey): Let's - Let's go forward with this plan.

Amanda (as Inara): So, Kohl. How should we convince Creative that this is an actual match that’s happening? Or do we just say it, and everyone will just pretend that they knew about it and then think that they forgot?

Julia (as Kohl): I think I have an idea.

[short pause]

[metallic foreboding music begins]

Eric: Three hours later, the city is reeling from the surprise blackout. an Inara and Kohl, you plastered the neighborhood with hastily drawn but intricate posters advertising the match of the millennium, “See Kohl, The Infernal, and the Midnight Man in an empty arena match for the ages”. And the poster depicts Kohl and a purply black silhouette, charging each other in a shadowy stadium and an explosion where the two characters meet.

Inside of Jersey Mike's Arena, Alabaster and Tracey are rolling a barrel of Undying Light to center stage. Kohl warms up while Inara holds a piece of paper with Franny’s instructions on how to set up the secret weapon. As she slots the cartridge into a cobbled-together looking unit, a spark jumps up and singes her fingers. I guess it's good luck.

Across town in a dark room, the medallion starts to spin. And the Midnight Man wakes up.

[metallic foreboding music stops]

[theme music]

Eric: Join the Party is co-produced by Brandon Grugle, Amanda McLoughlin and me, Eric Silver. Special thanks to our creative consultants, Heddy Hunt, Connor McLoughlin, Julia Schifini, and Mischa Stanton. Our visual design is by Alyson Wakeman, the art mom, and our transcripts are by Nicolle - with two Ls - Siegart.

Amanda: The party doesn't stop here. The day after each episode comes out, we publish the Afterparty, where we sit down to discuss what just happened, learn what could have happened, and answer your questions.

Brandon: You can keep the party going by following @jointhepartypod on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ve also got merch, music from the show, and transcripts for every episode on our website jointhepartypod.com. And you can email us at hello@jointhepartypod.com.

Eric: For even more Join the Party goodness, check out our Patreon. By becoming a patron, you get access to a wonderful community in our Discord, exclusive merch, character backstories, bloopers and so much more. That’s at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.

Brandon: Another great way to help the show is to recommend Join the Party to a friend. Get them caught up fast by sending them the link to our start page, which contains the beginner episodes for those new to D&D and our plot recaps, at jointhepartypod.com/start.

Amanda: Join the Party is a founding member of Multitude, an audio collective and consultancy. Type “Multitude” into your podcast app to subscribe to the fantastic other shows in our collective, HORSE, Potterless, Spirits, and Waystation. Found out more about us and access our resources for podcasters at multitude.productions.

Eric: We’ll see you in two weeks. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.